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Less than 100 Days to Windows Server 2003 End of Support: Balancing act or unprecedented opportunity to modernise?

Vasily Malanin, Datacenter Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific | April 8, 2015
Vasily Malanin, Datacenter Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific, shares how organisations can move on to embrace new opportunities by choosing to modernise and minimise risk.

The security threat landscape is a strong negative force to contend with, which could strike any time, any business with dire consequences. Security is a business problem, not just an IT problem.

Windows Server 2003 was not built for today's business environment -- one where virtualisation and the cloud are more prevalent and often necessary to support scalability, application and device management.

Today's employees expect to be able to use any device they wish and customers expect to be able to interact with businesses anytime, anywhere. Windows Server 2012 was designed to support management of any device. Leveraging technology advantages which caters to a mobile-first, cloud-first scenario, will help to level the playing field in the war for talent, and the battle for customer mind share when going up against bigger firms.

The question now should not be, "why move off Windows Server 2003," but rather, "how can I move off Windows Server 2003 by July 2015?"

Lessons learnt from our modernisation journey
With 100 days to go, any organisation that's planning to migrate from Windows Server 2003, will have to look at drastic and transient solutions. The average migration takes between 250 to 350 days to complete, depending on the number of servers and complexity of the environment. Realistically there are 4 lessons from our experience which I'd like to share:

Lesson 1: Bring in the experts
Cataloguing solutions and deciding what is required, what is not, how they run and which needs to stay on legacy hardware can be complex and time consuming. It would be advisable to bring in partners and consultants to assist with the early stages of migration, and to conduct training for staff to ensure they have the skills needed to run a modern IT environment.

Lesson 2: Over provisioning and identity management
While conducting the actual migration, make sure to overprovision on network capacity at the start and then scale back. Also, ensure you have your identity and authentication strategy in place. The last thing you want is to have all your colleagues unable to access mission-critical workloadsand bring operations to a standstill.

Lesson 3: Look to the cloud
Provisioning hardware might be a challenge as well. The easiest solution here is to migrate directly to the cloud. At Microsoft, we've seen significant advantages from moving to a fully public cloud in terms of lower costs, reduced manpower requirements and the ability to scale our compute power more rapidly to adapt to changes in the business landscape. Jumping onto the cloud even means avoiding future end of life instances from affecting the business adversely. Refreshing technology would be far simpler. 


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